Goldschmidt makes history in London Series

June 25th, 2023

There are several monikers one could give to seven-time All-Star first baseman . “Goldy” is certainly one of them. As of November 2022, “MVP” is another.

But perhaps the most relevant one of all after this weekend? Call him “Mr. Worldwide.”

When Goldschmidt and the Cardinals faced the Cubs in the 2023 London Series on Saturday and Sunday, the 35-year-old made a unique type of history. Goldschmidt became the first player in MLB history to play a regular-season game in five different countries (USA, Australia, Canada, Mexico, England). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there have also been four NBA players and 15 NHL players to suit up in five countries. (Note: Games in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, are not counted separately here.)

John Smoltz asked Goldschmidt about what it was like to play in five countries during an in-game interview on FOX during Saturday's 9-1 Cubs victory.

"I never thought I'd even play in one country in the big leagues, so to play in five is pretty amazing," Goldschmidt said.

Goldschmidt broke a tie with 16 other MLB players, per Elias, including three who are active: (USA, Mexico, Japan, Canada), (Mexico, USA, Canada, Australia) and (USA, Canada, England, Mexico -- with homers in all four places).

How did these London games come about? For starters, they actually were meant to happen three years ago. The inaugural MLB London Series happened in June 2019, when the Yankees swept the Red Sox in a thrilling two-game set in which a combined 50 runs were scored. The first game of that Yankees-Red Sox series was played in front of an announced crowd of 59,659, marking the largest crowd at an MLB game since the Padres played their final game at Qualcomm Stadium on Sept. 28, 2003.

These represented not just the first regular-season games for MLB in London, but also the first such games in Europe altogether. The plan was for the Cardinals and Cubs to replicate it one year later until the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world, putting a temporary wrench in MLB’s plans to play internationally. But patience has paid off for all parties, and now, three years later than originally scheduled, these two storied franchises brought their rivalry to London Stadium.

While this will be MLB’s only series in London this season, international travel is rapidly increasing in the sport. The 2023 London Series is merely part of the MLB World Tour, which plans to feature 24 regular-season games and 16 exhibition games across Asia, Mexico, Latin America and Europe through the 2026 season. The Mets and Phillies will play in London in 2024.

Speaking of world tours, though, there’s no player in the history of the sport who has more experience with them than Goldschmidt. Here’s a breakdown of what he’s brought to the table in his international appearances.

March 22-23, 2014

Fresh off his first career All-Star appearance, Goldschmidt’s international MLB debut helped open the 2014 season as the D-backs traveled to Sydney, Australia, for a two-game set against the Dodgers. Though Arizona was swept, Goldschmidt had a pair of hits in each game, finishing 4-for-9 in nine plate appearances and scoring the team’s only run in the opening game. Goldschmidt also notably tried his hand at cricket while visiting Australia a few months before the series.

June 21-22, 2016

Unlike the 2023 London trip or the 2014 season-opening series in Sydney, there was no special event commemorated by this two-game set -- it just happened to be the first (and so far, only) time that Goldschmidt played a road series against the Blue Jays. Arizona split the series against Toronto, though Goldschmidt was actually much better in the loss than in the win, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts when the D-backs won but reaching base in all four plate appearances (two hits, two walks) in the loss.

April 13-14, 2019

Goldschmidt’s Mexico debut was also the last instance of the Cardinals playing a regular-season game internationally before the London trip (excluding Toronto), when St. Louis made the trek to Monterrey for a two-game series against the Reds. Goldschmidt went 3-for-9 with a walk across the pair of games, which the Cardinals split with Cincinnati. As was the case with London, MLB’s travels to Mexico were also put on hold due to the pandemic, though the sport returned when the Giants and Padres faced off in Mexico City earlier this season.

June 24-25, 2023

In his first career regular-season action in Europe, Goldschmidt had two nearly identical performances, having an RBI single as his only hit in each game. The Cardinals lost the first game, 9-1, with Goldschmidt knocking in St. Louis' only run, but the Cardinals responded with a 7-5 win to salvage a series split. In the series, of course, Goldschmidt officially set the record by appearing in a regular-season game in his fifth country.

Goldschmidt’s overall stats across his career international stops: 11-for-32 with a .344/.417/.438 batting line.